“Calypso 1”

“Calypso 1”, Charcoal/Ink on Savage Wide Tone Paper. This piece depicts the main character, “Calypso” from my work-in-progress “Villains and Birdsong”. I started this piece while I fleshed out the idea for the story, and as I worked on the art piece, it became clear to me who the story character would be.
“…She slides the mirror-lensed sunglasses down her nose and sweeps her eyes across the meadow.
Reference Photo. Took this one in the ghost town of Centralia, PA.

Ho-ly shit…

Is she really seeing this? She snags an errant lock of hair away from her face, tucks it behind one ear, and surveys the meadow again. Finally, she smiles. Yes, she’s seeing it alright.

She hadn’t thought meadows like this even existed in Kentucky, but here this one is. It stretches, almost endless, looking as wide and grand as any of the others she’s seen so far in say, Nebraska, or Wyoming, or even Kansas.

“This is perfect.”

And oh, the sound of it! It has the sound of something just so absolutely abuzz with life. What must be hundreds- no, thousands of birds sing in the distant trees.

Birdsong. She chuckles. BIRDSONGTotally perfect.

All while perhaps a million crickets chirrup in the tall grass. The tall-

Wait, what the Hell…? Green grass? Her smile falters a little. But I thought Kentucky grass was supposed to look blue?

She squints. Perhaps the sunglasses have messed with her color perception? Are her eyes somehow deceiving her?

A moment later however, she decides that they’re not. Hell, they can’t be, she realizes. Sunglasses or no, her vision is always perfect, full spectrum, right up to 1025 hertz. Therefore, although each blade is tipped with very small, sapphire-blue flowers, the grass itself is indeed green. She scans it more closely: WAVELENGTH=527.39 NANOMETERS. FREQUENCY=533.85 TERRAHERTZ. WAVELENGTH=2.27 ELECTRON VOLTS. Yes, a rich, almost emerald green, which swishes and sighs in great, gentle waves, all beneath a mellow late-afternoon sun and a dazzling, almost cloudless blue sky.

“Well son of a bitch. Live and learn I guess.” A disappointed hmmph escapes her nostrils.

But then she brightens again. Who cares what color the grass is? It’s still perfect. Just like the meadow she and Father and the other girls had spent so many happy days in back when they were young.

Whatever might come next, happiness or heartbreak, she couldn’t have planned a better setting for it herself.

She gets to work. SNAP! Flutter…

The picnic blanket, made of a heavy, red and white checkered cloth, spreads itself wide upon the late-summer breeze. She holds the blanket tight, lest the breeze suddenly become a wind and try to pull it from her thin fingers.

She’ll just have to watch her nails. She’s been so busy lately, so caught up in things, that she just hasn’t paid enough attention to them. They’ve gotten so long, long enough that their points have even begun to curve sharply downward, and if she’s forced to hold the blanket too tight, she will most certainly-

Sure enough, the wind does pick up, and pulls the blanket taut in her hands. She feels her nails dig into the fabric, feels their tips straining against it, ready to plunge through, or worse, rip it to shreds. All in a futile attempt to save it.

The words to a song-


-that she’d heard-

     JULY 3, 2019, 22:19, TOPEKA, KAN-

-on the radio-


“The Hell, Gorgeous! Stop it!” She sighs. The words-

Oh fuck it. The song’s words don’t matter anymore; Gorgeous has beaten the emotion behind them to death. Again

Meanwhile, the wind continues to pull. “Oh to Hell with this…” She casts a wicked grin up at the sky. “So help me, if you make me tear this fucking blanket, even one little hole… I will rip YOU a new-”

She feels the small pulse leave her body.


And yes, maybe it’s stupid, or weird, or perhaps even a little crazy to “talk” to, or perhaps more accurately, threaten the weather. As if it’s a truly cognizant thing that can be cowed, but-

The wind becomes a breeze again, and the picnic blanket resumes its gentle flutter, while the few clouds that hang above her change their shape, subtly, as if to pretend: We meant to do that.

Crazy. But it works.

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